Cancer. It's a topic that's difficult to talk about, and even more difficult to face. Thanks to Mana‘olana, however—a local non-profit that supports cancer survivors through the sport of outrigger canoe paddling—it's a topic that can become just a little bit easier when confronted by power in numbers.
Based out of Kihei, the "Pink Paddlers", as they have come to be known, are actively up the challenge. Through physical exercise and outdoor camaraderie, it's the paddler's goal to help cancer survivors rebuild their strength and confidence. It's also a way for paddlers to connect with our ocean here in Maui, which is why the Blue‘aina team was excited for the chance to help raise funds for their cause. Thanks to the support of Mojo Custom—a local design firm offering custom apparel and unique ideas for gifts—over $500 was raised for the group and a reef is a little bit cleaner.
Loading out of Lahaina Harbor on a humid, sunny morning, Captain Caleb pointed the bow north towards the sands of Ka‘anapali. During the summer, the area around Pu‘u Keka‘a (Black Rock) is a flurry of activity with snorkelers, cliff jumpers, and swimmers, and every now and then the odd piece of debris will end up falling in the ocean.
While the reef itself was pretty clean, debris was found on the sandy bottom as well as up on the rock. As all of our ocean stewards are aware, everything that happens up on land will eventually end up in the sea, and by cleaning the plastics off of the shore it preemptively helps clean the reef. Thanks to the efforts of our volunteers, dozens of mini liquor bottles and a cache of broken snorkel parts were gathered into a large mesh bag before the wind could send them floating away.
Back on board, food provided by Island Catering made for an enjoyable lunch in the sun, and a sample of ocean water to be tested for microplastics was collected about a mile offshore. Ocean samples were also collected to be tested for pH balance, and it was another day of citizen science in action along the West Maui shoreline.
Looking ahead, our next Blue‘aina sail will be September 7th and will be loading from Ka‘anapali Beach. Food will be provided by Hula Grill, and a big mahalo to all of our participants who continue to make this program a success!